January 15, 2020
Lead Edge Capital spearheads the round to accelerate, scale and meet escalating demand for Accessibility-as-a-Service
TORONTO – eSSENTIAL Accessibility, the pioneering provider of Accessibility-as-a-Service, today announced the close of a $16 million USD investment round led by Lead Edge Capital.
Accessibility is a business mandate that has arrived with tremendous force. The consequences of not offering accessible experiences are costly and brand debilitating. This new financing will provide eSSENTIAL Accessibility with resources to expand its software platform and pursue rapid geographic expansion to meet escalating demand. It builds on an exceptional year for eSSENTIAL Accessibility which saw a rapidly growing roster of clients, key executive appointments, and market momentum in the white-hot areas of accessibility and inclusion.
eSSENTIAL Accessibility Secures $16 Million in Growth Funding full article
‘It gives me a sense of pride to have one bit of independence,’ says Eva von Flowtow Jane Sponagle · CBC News · Posted: Dec 29, 2019
Eva von Flotow won’t take no for an answer.
The 19-year-old Whitehorse woman is fighting for more accessibility.
It’s a cause close to her heart; von Flotow uses a wheelchair. She has quadriplegic cerebral palsy with dystonia, which means she has difficulty controlling how she moves.
Von Flotow is already making change. The Vancouver International Airport is working on an accessible washroom with a lift after she wrote a letter saying none of the washrooms had a lift for people in wheelchairs.
Whitehorse Teen can Write eMails Using Her Eyes full article
by Christian Hetrick, Updated: December 25, 2019
James Baldwin thought he’d never see his granddaughter’s face again.
The 18-year Army veteran started to lose his vision three years ago from an injury he suffered in the Gulf War. He lost his left eye and was left with limited vision in his right, reducing his sight to light and shadows. He can see shapes but not faces.
That was until October, when Baldwin put on a pair of NuEyes electronic glasses, which enhance the vision of visually impaired people. Suddenly, he could clearly see his wife sitting beside him. Leaves on trees. A picture of his granddaughter in her basketball uniform.
Americans With Disabilities Have $200 Billion in Spending Power. Comcast Isn’t Leaving Them Behind full article
November 29, 2019
Technology is changing the way we interact with companies like Domino’s, for sure.
The US Supreme Court last week to weigh in on an argument that the Americans with Disabilities Act should not apply to websites and digital storefronts, leaving intact a lower ruling finding that the ADA does, indeed, apply to digital space. Internet and Web users with disabilities, as well as advocates for accessible design, are breathing a sigh of relief.
Accessibility, the Future, and Why Domino’s Matters full article
Blind users have been fighting for a more inclusive web for over 20 years. Are lawsuits like the one against Dominos going to make a difference?
A few weeks ago, Lucy Greco heard a story on NPR about more clothing retailers shuttering their stores and moving online. Oh, great, she thought, recalling some of her past experiences with online shopping: Youre clicking on something that says, graphic graphic graphic, or some numbered file name, or some gibberish like that.
The Internet Is for Everyone, Right? Not With a Screen Reader full article
As a restauranteur, you hope to provide a great experience for everyone who patronizes your establishment. But then the question arises, how does one accomplish this?
By Laura Boniello Miller, Corporate Business Development Manager, JAWS Kiosk program, Vispero – 10.11.2019
According to figures from the CDC, 26% of the United States population identifies with having a disability. That’s 61 million people who may need additional accommodations to enjoy a nice meal out. As a restauranteur, you hope to provide a great experience for everyone who patronizes your establishment. But then the question arises, how does one accomplish this?
How Technology Can Enable Restaurant Accessibility And Inclusiveness full article
By Amanda Robert
October 7, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear Domino’s Pizza Inc.’s appeal over its website and mobile app and whether they are required to comply with federal disabilities law.
With its order, the high court let stand a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which held in January that Guillermo Robles, a blind man, could sue the national pizza chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act if its website and mobile app did not work with common screen-reading software.
SCOTUS Rejects Pizza Delivery Company’s Appeal Over Web and Mobile App Accessibility full article
Despite suggestions to make voting more accessible, people with disabilities still face barriers. Megan Linton · for CBC News · Posted: Sep 01, 2019
A man arrives at a polling station on the first day of advance voting for a federal byelection in Burnaby South on Feb. 15, 2019. Despite recommendations from an advisory group on disability issues formed by Elections Canada in 2014, little has changed for voters with disabilities as Manitobans prepare to vote in both a provincial and federal election in the coming weeks, says Megan Linton.
Disenfranchised and Disillusioned: Little Progress Made for Voters With Disabilities full article
by: Glacier Media
August 21, 2019
A device developed by a Saanich father to keep his disabled daughter’s diaper dry has taken second prize in a Canadian national contest.
The CareChanger, a sensory device that monitors for moisture and alerts caregivers to the need for a diaper change, took second place in its category at Innovative Design for Accessibility, a competition of Universities Canada, an organization that includes the University of Victoria.
Jim McDermott said he is meeting with a technology and design firm to discuss taking the device further, possibly to market.
“It might be a little easier now that I actually have an award-winning device to sell,” said McDermott, a retired maintenance engineer.
Dad’s Invention for Disabled Daughter Gets Recognition at National Contest full article
Prototype eases web navigation for those with visual impairments Aug. 20, 2019
by Brent Davis
Waterloo Region Record
A University of Waterloo student has helped develop a new tool to make online navigation easier for people with visual impairments.
The prototype, dubbed VERSE Voice Exploration, Retrieval, and Search merges voice-based virtual assistants on devices like phones and smart speakers with screen readers, which can read out the contents of a web page to the user.
Alexandra Vtyurina, a PhD candidate at UW’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, collaborated with researchers at Microsoft and University of Washington assistant professor Leah Findlater during an internship at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash. last summer.
UW Student Helps to Develop Online Accessibility Tool full article
Urges Swift Passage of Legislation to Preserve Independence of Blind People in their Homes Baltimore, Maryland (July 31, 2019)
The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans, today applauded the introduction of the Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act of 2019 (H.R. 3929) in the House of Representatives.
The bill was introduced by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). This legislation directs the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the “Access Board”) to develop a minimum nonvisual access standard for home-use medical devices, exercise equipment, and home appliances, and provide for the enforcement of the standard.
National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act full article
Originally posted 17th July 2019
Learning disability charity Hft has partnered with Tunstall Healthcare, a specialist in connected healthcare solutions, to release a new report on how assistive technology can support and transform the social care sector.
The report looks at the untapped potential of assistive technology and how it can support disabled people, increase independence and free up carers to focus on more meaningful support. It also highlights how assistive technology could help bridge the disability employment gap and get more disabled people into work.
Hft says that with social care funding in crisis and with care needs and demands growing, the realisation of the potential of assistive technology could revolutionise the way care is delivered, bringing about helpful changes for healthcare professionals and users alike.
Could Assistive Tech Transform the Social Care Sector? full article
22 July, 2019
Ariel Bogle* says people with disabilities face encoded inhospitality and numerous other barriers as they try to access the internet.
Dr Scott Hollier logged into an online portal recently, and was immediately faced with a familiar yet irritating internet question: How many of these pictures include buses?
CAPTCHA security tests, or the Completely Automated Public Turing Test, to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, are not always accessible to people with disabilities sometimes putting them, ridiculously, in the robot category.
I had two choices, said Dr Hollier, a digital access specialist who is legally blind.
Caught Out: How CAPTCHA Patterns Trip Up People With Disabilities full article
Kalev Leetaru Contributor
AI & Big Data
I write about the broad intersection of data and society.
“As the Web has become increasingly visual, with pages of text replaced by rich high-resolution imagery and video, it has become increasingly inaccessible to those with differing physical abilities who rely on accessibility software like screen readers.”
Silicon Valley has become obsessed with addressing AI bias. As deep learning algorithms have graduated from the academic research lab into the real world, there has become a growing awareness of the implications of their innate biases as their limited Western training data has collided spectacularly with a globalized digital world.
Why Do We Fix AI Bias But Ignore Accessibility Bias? full article
Charities are legally responsible for meeting accessibility standards online, but most don’t. Digital accessibility expert Carlos Eriksson of Studio 24 explains what they can do to fix it, starting now. Guest Writer | 20th Jun 19
Carlos Eriksson is Accessibility Lead Developer at Studio 24. Eriksson was named ‘Champion of Change’ in the 2019 BIMA 100 which recognises the top 100 digital movers and shakers, thanks to his decade-long work making the web better for everyone.
In the past couple of years, accessibility has gone from being an afterthought at best, to an often spoken about subject at conferences and water coolers alike.
How Charities Can Meet the New Digital Accessibility Standards full article
By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter
9 May 2019
Last year, Ruth Patterson’s band Holy Moly and the Crackers tried to book a tour of the UK.
But one venue wrote back, refusing to host them because Patterson, who has arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, uses a wheelchair.
“They said they wouldn’t book us because I was a fire hazard,” she says. “That’s absolutely horrendous.”
The singer is not alone. A new survey suggests disabled musicians face significant barriers in UK venues.
Of the nearly 100 deaf and disabled performers surveyed by Attitude Is Everything, two-thirds said they had to “compromise their health or wellbeing” in order to play live.
Disabled Musicians are Being ‘Failed by Venues’ full article
Apr 21, 2019
Diversity & Inclusion I write about undoing norms that inhibit success for disabled people.
This post is the first in a series on web accessibility.
Remember the bumper stickers that read, If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close? Yeah, danger ahead. Well, as America races down the cyber-highway, we should be on the lookout for a pile-up, because despite warning signs (as in a blizzard of web-accessibility lawsuits, up almost 200% last year from 2017) everywhere, people with disabilities just aren’t going to be able to move past the many obstacles heedless developers and designers are putting in their way.
The Coming Web Crack-Up full article
Screen-reading software allows visually impaired people to use the internet, but it hits a wall when it comes to memes.
In January, a photo of a woman holding a probing cane and looking at a phone went viral on Facebook after the poster implied that the subject was faking blindness given that she was clearly able to see her phone screen. Though the image was shared thousands of times by people who believed the joke, commenters were eventually informed of the reality, which is that blind people and people with low vision depend on their phones just as much as anyone else.
Blind People Can Struggle to Understand Memes, So They Made Their Own full article
A legal dispute over video captions continues after court rejects requests by MIT and Harvard University to dismiss lawsuits accusing them of discriminating against deaf people. By Lindsay McKenzie
April 8, 2019
Two high-profile civil rights lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are set to continue after requests to dismiss the cases were recently denied for the second time.
The two universities were accused by the NAD in 2015 of failing to make their massive open online courses, guest lectures and other video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Legal Battle Over Captioning Continues full article
Conn Maciel Carey LLP
USA February 21 2019
Over the past several years, we have written extensively about employers’ obligations to make their websites accessible for individuals with visual, hearing and physical impairments. In the past, we have counseled employers who are considered a “place of public accommodation” (such as a hotel, restaurant, place of recreation, doctor’s office, etc.) to at the very least do some due diligence to determine whether their websites are accessible for disabled users, so that those individuals can use and navigate those websites and/or purchase goods sold on
Court Ruling Further Clarifies ADA Website Accessibility Obligations full article